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Ledger Book

F.E.Conrad Ledger Book from Fort Griffin, Texas 1875-1878.

Documentation of Itemized Transactions With Texas Rangers, Buffalo Hunters, Cowboys, Outlaws and Lawmen.

F.E. Conrad was one of the most famous store keepers in Texas during the Frontier Period. He was a regular customer of The Sharps Rifle Company and many hunters who walked into his store walked out with a big caliber Sharps rifle. The ledger has several of these transaction itemized. Also itemized are purchases of gun powder, whiskey, soap, boots, shirts, buttons, Colt revolvers and even a banjo by hunters, outfitters, outlaws and lawmen, officers and men of the 10th U.S. Cavalry, 11th U.S. Infantry and Company B Frontier Battalion Texas Rangers. This then is an extremely rare, first-hand account of Western History. The sharp-eyed reader will learn much about daily life in the Fort Griffin of 1875-1878. This was an important boom town of its day enjoying the financial benefits of soldiers' pay days, hunters selling hides and cowboys and ranchers taking their herds to market. The careful bookkeepers of Conrad and Rath recorded the purchasers' names and exactly how much money they spent. Business was booming! Some of the Sharps rifles offered in this sale are listed here by serial number. This sort of provenance is a rare find.

The lives and enterprises of Frank Conrad and Charles Rath touched just about all parts of the history of the Southern Plains after the Red River War. Conrad (1842-1892) had been post sutler at Fort Griffin before turning to the civilian trade. His acquaintance among military officers was wide, and a who's who of the Indian Wars is recorded in these pages: " Lt. Custer", Lt. Col. George Pearson Buell, Maj. David Bell McKibbin, Capt. Adna R. Chaffee, and others who had served with valor during the Civil War and who would continue to greater fame on the plains. His contacts with the Sharps Rifle Company made him one of leading and most knowledgeable Sharps dealers in the West. Those sales, and the sales of related equipment and ammunition are recorded here.

German-born Charles Rath (1836-1902) ran away from his Ohio home to Bent's Fort as a teenager and spent the rest of his life in the West. He was always engaged in the business of trade in one way or another: freighting, importing, buying and selling buffalo hides. He developed strong trade networks among the Plains Indians and married a Cheyenne woman. The movement of goods for both war and peace are noted here.

Conrad and Rath had the only iron safe in the region and became bankers to both their military and civilian clientele. Their private transactions and their dealings with banks in Dallas, San Antonio, and elsewhere are recorded here. Buffalo runners who later went on to fame or notoriety in other endeavors are noted in these pages. For instance, John Selman (who buys the banjo on page 638), the sometime lawman who in 1895 shot down John Wesley Hardin in El Paso, frequented Conrad and Rath (along with characters such as "Black Bill" and "Hurricane Bill").